Warriors swingman Brandon Rush returned to Oracle Arena for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury. In the Nov. 2 home loss to Memphis, Rush tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee. He landed awkwardly after trying to dunk over Grizzlies PF Zach Randolph.
Rush, who tore his right ACL while in college at Kansas, talks for the first time publicly.
How are your emotions coming back here?
“Pretty high right now. I haven’t been able to watch any live basketball since the injury. But I feel pretty good about coming back here, seeing the fans and hopefully getting the win while I’m here.”
How have you gotten through it so far?
“Just going day by day, thinking everything will be ok. I’ve got everybody hitting me up every day, so that’s a good feeling. I just go day by day, take it one day at a time.”
What did it mean for the team to come visit you?
“It meant a lot to see a team come to your house, check on you, spend time with you after a big injury like that. Definitely a good feeling. I thank coach for that, too. He’s the one who set it up.”
Does it help having gone through this before?
“I think it helps a lot because I know what to expect. I know what I have to do every single day in rehab. I guess that’s a plus because I’ve been through it before.”
Does that help convince you that you’ll get back from this?
“That helps a lot. I’ve been through it before. But it’s a dread going through it again.”
On the video, you looked really emotional …
“I haven’t watched the video.”
When you were pushing guys away, were you trying to walk it off?
“I was definitely trying to walk it off to see if I just sprained it or something like that. But once I put pressure on it and I couldn’t stand up, I knew something was wrong. And I heard a pop but I hoped it wasn’t my ACL. That’s what it ended up being and I’m back in this position again.”
Was the news of an ACL tear relatively good news?
“Yeah. I’m happy I didn’t tear anything else. I tore my MCL, too. But other than that, everything is pretty stable. … I’ve just got to wait until my MCL heals then I can have surgery and just go from there.”
Are you having to strengthen the muscles around it to prep for surgery?
“That’s part of the process when you’re just dealing with the ACL. But since I tore my MCL, I’ve just got to let that heal. I can’t do anything.”
So what kind of timeline are you working with?
“Friday will be three weeks. They’re saying at the beginning of December, I should be ready for surgery.”
You looking to be ready for camp next year?
“Yeah, I’m looking for camp next year. The last time it took me five months. I figure it will be six or seven months this time.”
Was part of the sting because you were playing so well?
“It was bad timing being second game of the season and I was playing well. I was very confident in my abilities and then, boom, this happens. Just brought me right back down.”
Were you looking forward to a big payday if you had another good season?
“I was looking that far ahead but I was just trying to play the season out first. If we were going to win and make it to the playoffs, that was going to help out a lot during free agency next year — if I was to decline the (player) option.”
So in the meantime, you’re going to be like an assistant coach?
“No. I’m not that vocal. So I’m out there just watching. I give my little pointers every once in a while on Twitter. But that’s about it.”
How do you think the team is doing without you?
“I think the team is doing real well. Harrison is getting real confident. He’s taking it to the rack, which he used to do in training camp and preseason. So he’s getting real confident out there and everybody else is playing pretty well.”
Did you know you were this appreciated before you got hurt?
“I didn’t know that at all. From me reading stuff and guys tweeting about stuff, it’s a good feeling to know that you are missed from the bench and from the locker room stand point.”
“I got a few tweets from a lot of guys across the league.”
What did that mean to you?
“That meant a lot to me, hearing from guys I never even conversed with, (guys I) just say what’s up to. Hearing from them was a big boost to my getting back.”
Does that show you that you were on the right track?
“I feel I was definitely on the right track. Last year, I was really confident in my abilities. Picking up this year from training camp into preseason, I feel like I was headed into the right direction.”
What did it mean for Zach Randolph to come apologize?
“He came back there and said it wasn’t intentional … he said, ‘You’ve already been through it before. Just fight, fight and keep fighting.’ That was definitely a good look for Z-Bo.”
Will you get to be around the team?
“After surgery, I will be out. I won’t be able to do anything for like two or three weeks. But around February or March, I’ll be trying to travel with the team a little bit.”